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The Wild West in Vermont’s White River Valley: ‘Pasghetti Western’ Movie to Debut in Woodstock

The Oscar statuettes have all been handed out, but a pint-sized version of Hollywood glamour will descend on Woodstock’s Town Hall Theatre Saturday evening.

Pasghetti Western, a film made by Royalton residents Myra and Jim Hudson, will have its premiere, and in keeping with the spirit of the film, the Hudsons have planned an event with fun in mind. There will be a red carpet, and once the limousine arrives with the actors, ages 3 to 14, the stars will sign autographs.

“The original goal was to make something fun,” Myra Hudson said. Initially, “we envisioned throwing our red carpet event in our living room,” she said. But the Town Hall Theatre, with its vintage proportions and generous lobby, proved the ideal venue to continue the enjoyment of making the film. “It’s fun to play Hollywood a bit,” Myra said.

The film was shot mainly in the summer and fall of 2012 in Royalton and Tunbridge and features a cast of 28 children, including the Hudsons’ two sons and many of their nieces and nephews. Both Myra and Jim come from big families with deep roots in the White River Valley.

Clocking in at a little over an hour, Pasghetti Western tells the story of a late 19th-century frontier woman, played by Lilly Hudson, then 8, who has to take care of her children and homestead after her husband lights out for the territories to seek his fortune. She has to contend with cattle rustlers who try to take over her ranch.

There’s no dialogue, but the film has voice-over narration and locally written and performed music. Butch Howe and Rudi Ruddell will play fiddle and guitar music in the lobby before the film.

A year ago, Myra Hudson was juggling the work of editing the film with taking care of her two young sons. The final work on the film wasn’t done until after the premiere date was booked. The Hudsons showed a cut of the film to a test audience last fall and based on the feedback they added a little to the end of the film to tie up a loose end and cut some scenes.

“We were almost a little too close to it,” Jim said. “All those fresh eyes helped us see the whole storyline.” They needed to take a more dispassionate look at the film, not an easy thing to do when so many beloved children are involved.

“It was really hard for us to get rid of some extremely adorable footage that didn’t help us tell the story,” Jim said.

They sent the film to Sean Ingoldsby, a Tunbridge native who works as a sound engineer and musician in Los Angeles, to do the sound. And they took the step of having the film made into a digital cinema pack, the format that allows it to be played in a contemporary movie theater.

The Hudsons screened the movie in Woodstock, just to be sure it would work for the premiere. They were happy with the finished product.

“I think we accomplished all we planned on accomplishing,” Myra said.

“It’s a really sweet movie,” Jim said. “I think adults who love children, and children, will love this movie.”

There are still a few tickets available for Saturday’s premiere. Tickets are $28 apiece and are available through Pentangle, at pentanglearts.org or 802-457-3981. Doors open at 6:30. A second screening, without the fanfare and with tickets costing $12, is set for Sunday evening at 7.

After this weekend, the Hudsons hope the film will travel to theaters around Vermont and to film festivals. Eventually, Myra said, it will be available on DVD and video-on-demand.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3219.